Steam Trains

#25 in Garibaldi, Oregon

My husband is a steam freak. He loves steam trains. Okay, steam anything. He grew up in the country where you bucked bales of hay for a dollar, you went to the Grange Hall for social nights, and everyone knew everyone. I could fill a year’s worth of blog posts just on the stories from his childhood. What’s most important to know is that family friends own their own steam mill and my husband has so many fond memories of those days helping out.

However, this blog isn’t about that so much as it is about a recent steam-related trip we took. There are quite a few places within driving distance of us that have running steam trains. So over the last several years, we’ve visited most of them. Actually, all of them now. There was one more, and we just got back.

Our very first steam train ride was local, within 45 minutes of home, and we got to enjoy that with Over The Backyard Fence’s own Lavada Dee and her husband. Then we began branching out, to Summerland and Port Alberni in British Columbia, and to Oregon. This most recent trip meant a 7 hour drive up and into the heart of British Columbia, Canada. It’s worth noting that just the drive itself was an exceptional piece of this trip. The scenery through the Cascade mountains is amazing. And the drive was also worth it to see the refurbished 2141 engine in action. This train sat in a park for 33 years, used as a toy for kids to crawl over and play on. Then, back in 1994 the newly formed Kamloops Heritage Railway spent the next eight years (and with 80,000 man hours) moving and restoring #2141 to its former glory. It’s been carrying passengers on an eight mile rail tour since the summer of 2002.

There’s nothing like the whistle of a steam train. And the sound of the train getting up to speed like The Little Engine that DOES, well, even I break out in a smile. The video below is from a trip to Oregon a few years ago.

On this trip, we got robbed. Well, not really, but three lady robbers rode up on horseback, guns (with caps, not bullets) ablaze. It was a great show, and an awesome finish to a warm, but fun day. Worth the drive, even though we had to come home through Friday traffic.

And, since it’s the last semi-local one that we know of, we’ll have to branch out to see more. Hmmm, I read that there’s a great steam train ride in Auckland, New Zealand. I wonder if I can convince the hubby…

For more information about Laurie Ryan:


15 responses to “Steam Trains

  1. I remember that steam trip with you and Mark. This one looks awesome with beautiful scenery. We only went on two. The one with you and one in Oregon. One thing that shows up in all the pictures is Marks smile. He does love it and it shows.

    Thanks for sharing. Happiness is contagious.

  2. very cool. Looks and sounds like a grand time! Jillian

  3. Laurie, I think there’s a steam train that runs from Carson City, NV up to Virginia City, NV. You might check that out. Of course that’s more than a day trip. There’s another one some where in eastern CA near the Route 66 area also. I love them too.

  4. Nancy A Moffett

    A steam train makes a special trip, thanks for sharing, Laurie! Before you go to Auckland, a friend – also a steam train fanatic – loved her time in Wales on their historic narrow gauge steam trains. I think she even got to do volunteer work on a train being restored.

  5. There’s something about steam trains that awakens a thrill in all of us, I think, perhaps nostalgia as most of us grew up with them. And what a fantastic trip you had, through such beautiful countryside too. We have short line runs here with steam trains, all run by volunteers; Dave and I keep saying we must do a trip on one soon. 🙂

  6. This looks great fun, I love steam trains but American trains always seem so exciting. Interesting blog thank you.

    • It’s always fun being on them. Like stepping back into the past. I’m not sure I would have wanted to travel long distances that way, though. I do like my comforts. 🙂

  7. Sounds fun, Laurie. And very pleased Mark enjoyed it. AJ is a steam train fan, too, and if we go on a break somewhere and there’s a steam train, he’s all for it. There’s something so relaxing about them, too. Glad you enjoyed your trip, despite having to negotiate Friday commuter traffic on the return journey.

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